The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard. Since 2015.

BESS is the only dedicated tool in Victoria for assessing sustainable design at the planning permit stage. Built and maintained by local governments, for local governments, BESS is designed to assist development applicants and councils achieve sustainable design outcomes for the community.
BESS is now used in over 30 councils across Victoria. In these subscriber councils, planning permit applicants can prepare a BESS report for a development located within that municipality. There is no cost for planning permit applicants to use BESS.

BESS can also be used by any member of the community to assess the design of their home and find ways to make it more sustainable.

An assessment tool designed for the planning process

BESS facilitates a consistent framework and assessment of sustainability at the planning stage, saving time and effort for both planners and the development community.

BESS looks a range factors that affect the natural environment as well as the well-being of building occupants. BESS includes water, energy, stormwater quality, indoor environment quality, transport, waste, urban ecology, building management to support these and innovation.
Key features: 
  • Purpose-built for the planning permit stage
  • Assess any size or type of building(s) including mixed use
  • Facilitates a consistent framework and assessment of sustainability at the planning stage
  • Multiple options for demonstrating compliance - providing flexibility for the user while delivering sustainability outcomes
  • Location-neutral. Does not advantage or disadvantage a development based on location. 
  • Standardised report streamlines the assessment process for Council staff
  • Aggregate data to track impact over time and for Council reporting
  • Online help and technical support available 

How is BESS Governed? 

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) owns BESS. The Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) operates BESS on behalf of its member councils, as part of its role in facilitating a more sustainable built environment for Victorian communities. CASBE staff are employed by MAV. 

BESS is a CASBE asset under the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) framework, governed by the SDAPP Governance Board and advised by the SDAPP Technical Reference Panel. 

The SDAPP Governance Board is responsible for the strategic direction of BESS, including

  • setting, reviewing and updating sustainability performance objectives within the tool
  • responding to changes in Victorian and specific local planning provisions
  • overseeing enhancements (upgrades) and regular maintenance activities

For any questions relating to the governance or administration of BESS please contact us

Become a BESS subscriber Council

Ongoing management and maintenance of the tool is funded by participating local governments via annual subscription fees paid to CASBE. 

A BESS subscription is open to any CASBE member council. For more information about becoming a CASBE member or subscribing to BESS, including a copy of the BESS Prospectus, visit the CASBE website or contact the CASBE Executive Officer at

CASBE member councils acknowledge the ongoing support of the Municipal Association of Victoria.